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The key difference for most naval aircraft is the ability to operate from ships, which leads to them having a number of features that are not needed on land:\\\

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The key difference for most naval aircraft is the ability to operate from ships, which leads to them having a number of features that are not needed on land:\\\
land:



* Naval aircraft of course frequently have to be designed for specific types of naval weaponry and sensors that are not used on land, depending on the era. These include air-launched torpedoes, armor-piercing bombs, depth charges, naval mines, anti-ship missiles, sonobouys, dipping sonar, and Magnetic Anomaly Detection equipment, in addition to various ground-attack and air-to-air munitions. This also means accommodation for the crew who have to operate it.

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* Naval aircraft of course frequently have to be designed for specific types of naval weaponry and sensors that are not used on land, depending on the era. These include air-launched torpedoes, armor-piercing bombs, depth charges, naval mines, anti-ship missiles, sonobouys, dipping sonar, and Magnetic Anomaly Detection equipment, in addition to various ground-attack and air-to-air munitions. This also means accommodation for the crew who have to operate it.that equipment.



* The Japanese [=A6M=] "Zero" was a famously effective carrier fighter of the Pacific Theater of World War II.
* The Zero's primary antagonists were the US Navy's F4F Wildcat and its partial replacement the [=F6F=] Hellcat. They were in turn succeeded by the [=F8F=] Bearcat, which turned out to be the last propeller-driven fighter of the US Navy.

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* The Japanese [=A6M=] "Zero" Zero or [[ReportingNames "Zeke"]] was a famously effective carrier fighter of the Pacific Theater of World War II.
* The Zero's primary antagonists were the US Navy's F4F [=F4F=] Wildcat and its partial replacement the [=F6F=] Hellcat. They were in turn succeeded by the [=F8F=] Bearcat, which turned out to be the last propeller-driven fighter of the US Navy.



* The F-4 Phantom II was one of the first fighter-bombers ''and'' one of the first carrier fighters designed primarily for missile combat. The US Navy and Marine Corps used the A, B, N, and S versions, and the Royal Navy used the K variant. Its combat record against the North Vietnamese Air Force led to it being nicknamed "The World's Leading Distributor of MiG Parts", with many flattering and unflattering names.

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* The F-4 Phantom II was one of the first fighter-bombers ''and'' one of the first carrier fighters designed primarily for missile combat. The US Navy and Marine Corps used the A, B, N, and S versions, and the Royal Navy used the K variant. Its combat record against the North Vietnamese Air Force led to it being nicknamed "The World's Leading Distributor of MiG [=MiG=] Parts", along with many other [[FanNickname flattering and unflattering names.names]].



* The primary Japanese torpedo bomber in World War II was the Nakajima [=B5N=] "Kate". As with the TBD, it proved to have significant weaknesses in the early war, and it was replaced by...
* The Nakajima [=B6N=] "Jill". Although a fairly powerful torpedo bomber, it's late introduction during World War II meant that the Imperial Japanese Navy had already exhausted its supply of well-trained aircrew and was facing significant material shortages, and so it never lived up to its full potential.

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* The primary Japanese torpedo bomber in World War II was the Nakajima [=B5N=] "Kate". As It was successful in the first half of the war, but as with the TBD, it proved to have significant weaknesses in the early war, weaknesses, and it was replaced by...
* The Nakajima [=B6N=] "Jill".Jill". Although a fairly powerful torpedo bomber, it's late introduction during World War II meant that the Imperial Japanese Navy had already exhausted its supply of well-trained aircrew and was facing significant material shortages, and so it never lived up to its full potential.



* The Imperial Japanese Aichi D3A "Val" conducted the attack on Pearl Harbor and accounted for the destruction of more allied ships than any other axis aircraft of the war.

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* The Imperial Japanese Aichi D3A [=D3A=] "Val" conducted the attack on Pearl Harbor and accounted for the destruction of more allied ships than any other axis aircraft of the war.



!!!Carrier Onboard Delivery

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!!!Carrier !!Carrier Onboard Delivery



* The OS2U Kingfisher was a battleship and cruiser based spotter aircraft of the US Navy.

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* The OS2U [=OS2U=] Kingfisher was a battleship and cruiser based seaplane spotter aircraft of the US Navy.


[[folder:Aircraft]]
!!Naval aircraft

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[[folder:Aircraft]]
!!Naval aircraft
[[folder:Naval Aircraft]]



There are three standard methods for launching fixed-wing carrier-based aircraft. The most conventional is Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR), in which a steam catapult (or starting with the USS Gerald R. Ford, scheduled to enter service in 2016, an electromagnetic catapult) is used to launch the aircraft, and on landing the aircraft must catch one of a set of arrestor wires with its tailhook. The second is Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL), which dispenses with the need for catapults and wires but requires specialized aircraft that are usually lower in overall performance.[[note]]STOVL aircraft are almost invariably capable of also taking off vertically (VTOL), but but a short rolling takeoff allows them to carry a larger payload.[[/note]] The third is a hybrid of the other two, Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), which uses similar aircraft to CATOBAR but doesn't require heavy, expensive and maintenance-intensive catapults.\\\

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There are three standard methods for launching fixed-wing carrier-based aircraft. The most conventional is Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR), in which a steam catapult (or starting with the USS Gerald US ''Gerald R. Ford, scheduled to enter service in 2016, Ford'' class, an electromagnetic catapult) is used to launch the aircraft, and on landing the aircraft must catch one of a set of arrestor wires with its tailhook. The second is Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL), which dispenses with the need for catapults and wires but requires specialized aircraft that are usually lower in overall performance.[[note]]STOVL aircraft are almost invariably also capable of also taking off vertically Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), but but a short rolling takeoff allows them to carry a larger payload.[[/note]] The third is a hybrid of the other two, Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), which uses similar aircraft to CATOBAR but doesn't require heavy, expensive and maintenance-intensive catapults.catapults, at the cost of being unable to fling quite as much weight in fuel or weapons into the air.\\\



* Shipborne aircraft must have built-in hard points for attaching tiedown chains which prevent them from rolling or sliding around on deck as the ship pitches and rolls.



!!!Fighters and Interceptors
These aircraft are there to provide long-range and close defense against enemy aircraft, and in more modern settings, against incoming missiles. From the dawn of aviation until the 1960s-1980s, these were gunfighters, using machine guns or canon to dogfight their opposite numbers and hunt down bombers and others. As missile technology improved, air-to-air missiles became the primary weapon with guns moving into a secondary role. As their role suggests, regardless of era and primary weaponry they tend to be fast and highly maneuverable in order to gain the upper hand against enemy aircraft. Because their job is defense, they often operate in a "ready" mode, sitting on deck and able to "scramble" and launch at a moment's notice, or in a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) or Defensive Counter Air (DCA) mode, where flights of aircraft are kept continuously flying patrols to intercept threats before they can get to the carrier and her escorts. They also accompany other aircraft on strike missions as escorts. As precision-guided weapons improved in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, they began to significantly overlap with the bombers and attack aircraft described below, and these days the two roles tend to be combined into "fighter-bomber" or "strike fighter" designs.\\\

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!!!Fighters !!Fighters and Interceptors
These aircraft are there to provide long-range and close defense against enemy aircraft, and in more modern settings, against incoming missiles. From the dawn of aviation until the 1960s-1980s, these were gunfighters, using machine guns or canon to dogfight their opposite numbers and hunt down bombers and others. As missile technology improved, air-to-air missiles became the primary weapon with guns moving into a secondary role. \\\

As their role suggests, one might suspect, regardless of era and primary weaponry they tend to be fast and highly maneuverable in order to gain the upper hand against enemy aircraft. Because their primary job is defense, they often operate in a "ready" mode, sitting on deck and able to "scramble" and launch at a moment's notice, or in a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) or Defensive Counter Air (DCA) mode, where flights of aircraft are kept rotated in order to continuously flying keep patrols in the air to intercept threats before they can get to the carrier and her escorts. They also accompany other aircraft on strike missions as escorts. As precision-guided weapons improved in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, they began to significantly overlap with the bombers and attack aircraft described below, and these days the two roles tend to be combined into "fighter-bomber" or "strike fighter" designs.\\\



* The US F-8 Crusader was one of the last naval aircraft designed primarily for dogfighting with guns, and so was often known as "The Last Gunfighter".

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* The US F-8 Crusader was one of the last naval aircraft designed primarily for dogfighting with guns, and so was often known as "The Last Gunfighter". F-8 pilots derisive of their peers flying missile-specialized aircraft also had the slogan "When you're out of F-8's, you're out of fighters."
* The F-4 Phantom II was one of the first fighter-bombers ''and'' one of the first carrier fighters designed primarily for missile combat. The US Navy and Marine Corps used the A, B, N, and S versions, and the Royal Navy used the K variant. Its combat record against the North Vietnamese Air Force led to it being nicknamed "The World's Leading Distributor of MiG Parts", with many flattering and unflattering names.



!!!Torpedo Bombers

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!!!Torpedo !!Torpedo Bombers



!!!Dive Bombers

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!!!Dive !!Dive Bombers



!!!Attack Aircraft

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!!!Attack !!Attack Aircraft



* The A-1 Skyraider was the US Navy's last piston-engine driven attack aircraft, used starting in the 1940s all the way through to the 1980s. As it appeared quite anachronistic among the modern jets then in use, it was often referred to as "The Spad", referencing a French-built biplane used by the US in World War I.



!!!Electronic Warfare Aircraft

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!!!Electronic !!Electronic Warfare Aircraft



!!!Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft
These planes carry large radars and comprehensive communications suites, in order to look out much further than the ships' radars can see, detect threats before they are close enough to attack the fleet, and then vector other aircraft in to deal with the threat. Any plane with a radar can perform the role, including helicopters, but dedicated aircraft are much more efficient at it.\\\

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!!!Airborne !!Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft
These planes carry large radars and comprehensive communications suites, in order to look out much further than the ships' radars can see, detect threats before they are close enough to attack the fleet, and then vector other aircraft in to deal with the threat. Any plane with a radar can perform the role, including helicopters, but dedicated aircraft are much more efficient at it. Sometimes called "the eyes of the fleet".\\\



* The E-2C Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage and provides direction to the carrier's aircraft.

!!!Maritime Patrol Aircraft

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* The US E-1 Tracer was one of the first purpose-built carrier-capable AEWC aircraft.
* The E-2C (and updated variant E-2D) Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage and provides direction to the a US carrier's aircraft.

!!!Maritime
aircraft, or indeed any friendly aircraft or ships in the area.
* Having retired all of its full-length carriers by the 1980s, and having identified that one of their major weaknesses during the UsefulNotes/FalklandsWar was a lack of adequate early warning, the UK developed a series of AEWC versions of the Westland Sea King helicopter known as the AEW.2, AEW.5, and [=ASaC7=].

!!Maritime
Patrol and Anti-Submarine Aircraft



* The S-2 Tracker was the first purpose-built anti-submarine aircraft of the US Navy.
* The S-3 Viking was a jet-powered aircraft designed as a replacement for the S-2.



* A close sibling of the E-2C, the C-2A Greyhound is the USN's current COD.

!!!Observation and Reconnaissance Aircraft

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* A close sibling The C-1 trader was a cargo variant of the E-2C, S-2 Tracker, and the E-1 tracer was in turn derived from it.
* As with the C-1,
the C-2A Greyhound is a close sibling of the E-2C and the USN's current COD.

!!!Observation !!Observation and Reconnaissance Aircraft


Air attack has been a big potential issue for warships since before the UsefulNotes/SecondWorldWar, a war that of course saw Pearl Harbor. These days, the primary manifestation of this threat is the anti-shipping missile, launched from an aircraft, ship, submarine or a shore-based battery. You can shoot these down, or preferably, blow up the guy with the missiles before he launches them, and anti-air weapons are good for both.\\\

Historically, the main determinants of AA effectiveness have been fire control- the ability of your radars to track enough targets, how fast you can fire your guns/get your missiles off, and how likely they are to hit their targets.

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Air attack has been a big potential issue for warships since before the UsefulNotes/SecondWorldWar, a war that of course saw the infamous air raid on Pearl Harbor. These days, the primary manifestation of this threat is the anti-shipping missile, launched from an aircraft, ship, submarine or a shore-based battery. You can shoot these down, or preferably, blow up the guy with the missiles before he launches them, and anti-air weapons are good for both.\\\

Historically, the main determinants of AA effectiveness have been fire control- the ability of your radars directors (and later radars) to track enough targets, how fast you can fire your guns/get guns/launch your missiles off, missiles, and how likely they are to hit their targets.



For much of history, the primary role of warships has been to attack other surface warships or terrestrial targets. This remains a major role today. Ships can work with aircraft or even soldiers on land to locate and destroy the enemy. Naval support has been a deciding factor in many battles.

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For much of history, the primary role of warships has been to attack other surface warships or terrestrial targets. This remains a major role today. Ships can work with aircraft each other, aircraft, or even soldiers on land to locate and destroy the enemy. Naval support has been a deciding factor in many battles.



* The most (in?)famous of these is the US BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM, so named to distinguish it from the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile or TASM, whch has since been retired), which can be fitted with a single warhead, cluster munitions, or a [[UsefulNotes/PeaceThroughSuperiorFirepower W61 nuclear warhead]].

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* The most (in?)famous of these is the US BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM, so named to distinguish it from the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile or TASM, whch which has since been retired), which can be fitted with a single warhead, cluster munitions, or a [[UsefulNotes/PeaceThroughSuperiorFirepower W61 nuclear warhead]].



!!Carrier-based aircraft

While not necessarily a weapon in and of themselves, the outer ring of air defense for a sufficiently large strike group will be formed by the carrier's air wing. Airborne early warning aircraft extend the radar horizon and fighters can visually identify and engage hostile aircraft, or provide early target information for naval [=SAMs=]. Many fighters are also light bombers/attack aircraft and can be used versus surface ships, and helicopter squadrons provide an antisubmarine capability.\\\

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!!Carrier-based !!Naval aircraft

While not necessarily a weapon in and of themselves, the outer ring of air defense for a sufficiently large strike group will be formed by the carrier's air wing. Airborne early warning aircraft extend Additionally, helicopters enable smaller ships to have a significant air presence throughout the radar horizon and fighters can visually identify and engage hostile aircraft, or provide early target information for naval [=SAMs=]. Many fighters are also light bombers/attack aircraft and can be used versus surface ships, and helicopter squadrons provide an antisubmarine capability.fleet.\\\



The key difference for most naval aircraft is the ability to operate from ships, which leads to them having a number of features that are not needed on land:\\\

* Heavy anti-corrosion measures are necessary, or the planes would rust away just sitting in the sea air.
* Carrier aircraft, and particularly their landing gear, need to be built heavily to survive the stresses of repeated carrier landings, which tend to be hard owing to the small amount of runway space available.
* Aircraft operating from CATOBAR carriers need to be built for for being pulled by their landing gear, as well as stopped by tailhooks.
* Radio and other communications and navigation equipment has always been more important for naval aircraft than land-based ones as both the aircraft and their base are moving around, and the sea is largely a featureless void most of the time. Without stable comms it might be impossible to find the ship again after a mission.
* There is an upper limit on the size of any aircraft that can operate from a ship. This is due to the limited space for launching and landing. There have been cases where large land-based aircraft were launched and landed back aboard ships, but these have mostly been either for experiments, publicity stunts, or one-off special missions, and usually required significant modifications from the norm to the ships, aircraft, and/or launching and landing procedures to pull off.
* Even on large modern carriers, naval aircraft tend to be built with compact parking and storage in mind. Folding wings, rotors, and even fuselages are popular, and some naval aircraft were designed with ease of disassembly and reassembly in mind. This is so that you can [[ClownCarBase maximize the number of aircraft a given type of ship can carry]].
* Naval aircraft of course frequently have to be designed for specific types of naval weaponry and sensors that are not used on land, depending on the era. These include air-launched torpedoes, armor-piercing bombs, depth charges, naval mines, anti-ship missiles, sonobouys, dipping sonar, and Magnetic Anomaly Detection equipment, in addition to various ground-attack and air-to-air munitions. This also means accommodation for the crew who have to operate it.
* Survival equipment ([[WeHaveReserves when issued]]) for naval aircraft always has the sea in mind, and include things like life vests, inflatable rafts, and dye marker packs.
* Historically, paint jobs have also been different. It's been common to paint the top side of the aircraft blue or a similar dark color that blends with the sea, and the bottom white or another light color that blends with the sky. Later as visual camouflage became less important, they have tended to use all-gray color schemes similar to their land-based counterparts.

!!!Fighters and Interceptors
These aircraft are there to provide long-range and close defense against enemy aircraft, and in more modern settings, against incoming missiles. From the dawn of aviation until the 1960s-1980s, these were gunfighters, using machine guns or canon to dogfight their opposite numbers and hunt down bombers and others. As missile technology improved, air-to-air missiles became the primary weapon with guns moving into a secondary role. As their role suggests, regardless of era and primary weaponry they tend to be fast and highly maneuverable in order to gain the upper hand against enemy aircraft. Because their job is defense, they often operate in a "ready" mode, sitting on deck and able to "scramble" and launch at a moment's notice, or in a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) or Defensive Counter Air (DCA) mode, where flights of aircraft are kept continuously flying patrols to intercept threats before they can get to the carrier and her escorts. They also accompany other aircraft on strike missions as escorts. As precision-guided weapons improved in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, they began to significantly overlap with the bombers and attack aircraft described below, and these days the two roles tend to be combined into "fighter-bomber" or "strike fighter" designs.\\\



* As the US Navy has the world's largest carrier fleet it also has the world's largest selection of carrier aircraft:
** The F-14 Tomcat of ''Film/TopGun'' fame was considered the most powerful naval fighter of its day. It is now retired from US service with a few hanging around in Iran. Where they're used on land due to lack of carriers, and not actually used that much at all which is why they're not too worn out to fly like the American ones. Its AIM-54 Phoenix missile was the longest-range air-to-air weapon ever deployed, able to reach out and touch someone upward of 100 nautical miles (190 km) away, but [[TooAwesomeToUse they were almost never used outside of tests due to being so expensive]].
** Its replacement, the F/A-18 Hornet and especially the enlarged F/A-18E Super Hornet, is a "strike fighter" which can attack surface or air targets.
*** There's also the EA-18G Growler, a dedicated jamming aircraft built into the Super Hornet airframe. Often borrowed by the Air Force, who retired their dedicated jammers over a decade ago.
** Finally now entering service is the C-model of the F-35, which has greater range and payload than the B-variant due to omitting the lift fan. And, for that matter, the Super Hornet it will be complementing for the foreseeable future.
** The E-2C Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage and provides direction to the carrier's aircraft. Its close sibling the C-2A Greyhound is a carrier-capable transport that can ferry people and supplies back and forth between the carrier and shore or other carriers.
** The SH-60 Seahawk helicopter comes in several flavors, of which the SH-60B, SH-60F, and MH-60R variants are designed for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. The HH-60H and MH-60S are meant for general purpose transportation, search and rescue, and special forces support, but can also be used for limited anti-surface ship work.
* Many navies without any other air capability will at least have some helicopters for anti-submarine, anti-surface, and general purpose work. It helps that they can land on pretty much any ship with a decent amount of flat deck space.
* The US Marine Corps and most non-US navies with a fixed wing capability tend to use aircraft with STOVL capability, as it allows for real fighter-bombers to fly off of a smaller carrier without expensive catapults and arresting gear. The most famous sea-borne STOVL aircraft is the Harrier, originally developed by the British, then later refined by a joint US-British effort and exported around the world. Often their carriers have a "ski jump" ramp at the front of the flight deck, which allows Harriers (and any future STOVL aircraft) to take off with a larger payload.
** There are actually three distinct Harrier airframes. The original British Harrier was the most primitive of the three, and the only naval users were the US Marine Corps (designated AV-8A), the Spanish Navy and the Royal Thai Navy (with hand-me-down Spanish Harriers), all of whom have retired them. The next was the Sea Harrier, a navalized and considerably improved version that was equipped with radar so that the Royal Navy, having retired all its CATOBAR carriers, could still have fighter support. These were also the fastest Harriers, and were later given the excellent Blue Vixen radar allowing them to fire AMRAAM missiles. Due to budget cuts they were prematurely retired by the Royal Navy before the F-35 was available to replace them. The only other operator is the Indian Navy. The final version is the Anglo-American Harrier II (AV-8B in US service), which has a larger airframe and a correspondingly more powerful engine, giving it superior payload and range. These are used by the Marines and the Spanish and Italian Navies, and some RAF Harrier [=IIs=] were transferred to the Royal Navy as a stopgap replacement for the retired Sea Harriers. Some Marine Corps, Spanish and Italian Harrier [=IIs=] have been upgraded to the AV-8B Plus, which gives them APG-65 radars removed from F/A-18C Hornets when the latter got better ones installed, allowing the Harriers to use AMRAAM. A proposal to similarly upgrade British Harrier [=IIs=] with the Blue Vixen radars from the retired Sea Harriers, but this was rejected as too expensive.
** Its intended replacement is the STOVL variant of the F-35 Lightning II (the F-35B), which was developed by an international effort led by the US and UK. Because the F-35B can carry a larger payload than the Harrier, it's unsafe to land it vertically while fully loaded; to avoid the wasteful dropping of unused weapons (which tend to be expensive) before landing, a technique has been developed to use thrust vectoring to slow the aircraft down enough that it can come to a rolling stop without the need for arresting gear.
* The French Navy, the only other one with a modern catapult-equipped aircraft carrier, uses the Dassault Rafale M. It lies somewhere between the standard F/A-18 and the Super Hornet in payload but is stealthier than either of them.

to:

* As the US Navy has the world's largest carrier fleet it also has the world's largest selection of carrier aircraft:
**
The F-14 Tomcat of ''Film/TopGun'' fame was considered the most powerful naval fighter of its day. It is now retired from US service with a few hanging around in Iran. Where they're used on land due to the lack of carriers, and not actually used that much at all which is why they're not too worn out to fly like the American ones. Its AIM-54 Phoenix missile was the longest-range air-to-air weapon ever deployed, able to reach out and touch someone upward upwards of 100 nautical miles (190 km) away, but [[TooAwesomeToUse they were almost never used outside of tests due to being so expensive]].
** * Its replacement, the F/A-18 F/A-18C Hornet and especially the enlarged F/A-18E and F Super Hornet, is a "strike fighter" which can attack surface or air targets.
*** There's also
targets. Detractors have argued that it was never as good a fighter as the EA-18G Growler, a dedicated jamming aircraft built into F-14 was, but because [[BoringButPractical it does it's job well enough]] ''and'' [[JackOfAllTrades can do several jobs]] [[CripplingOverspecialization that the Super Hornet airframe. Often borrowed by F-14 was never suited for]] the Air Force, who retired their dedicated jammers over a decade ago.
** Finally now entering service is the C-model
US Navy and several international militaries are very happy with it and use many of the F-35, them.
* The F-35C Lightning II,
which has greater range and payload than the B-variant due to omitting described under attack aircraft below, omits the lift fan. And, for that matter, the Super Hornet it will be complementing for the foreseeable future.
** The E-2C Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage
fan of it's STOVL sibling and provides direction to the carrier's is a dedicated carrier aircraft. Its close sibling the C-2A Greyhound It is a carrier-capable transport that can ferry people stealthier "strike fighter" meant to supplement the F/A-18E and supplies back and forth between the F variants.
* The Japanese [=A6M=] "Zero" was a famously effective
carrier fighter of the Pacific Theater of World War II.
* The Zero's primary antagonists were the US Navy's F4F Wildcat
and shore or other carriers.
** The SH-60 Seahawk helicopter comes
its partial replacement the [=F6F=] Hellcat. They were in several flavors, of turn succeeded by the [=F8F=] Bearcat, which turned out to be the SH-60B, SH-60F, and MH-60R variants are last propeller-driven fighter of the US Navy.
* The US Navy's [=F4U=] Corsair was
designed for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. The HH-60H and MH-60S are meant for general purpose transportation, search and rescue, and special forces support, but can also be used for limited anti-surface ship work.
* Many navies without any other air capability will at least have some helicopters for anti-submarine, anti-surface, and general purpose work. It helps that they can land on pretty much any ship with a decent amount of flat deck space.
* The US Marine Corps and most non-US navies with a fixed wing capability tend to use aircraft with STOVL capability,
as it allows for real fighter-bombers to fly off of a smaller carrier without expensive catapults fighter, but proved to have significant problems with carrier operations, and arresting gear. The so gained most famous sea-borne STOVL aircraft is the Harrier, originally developed of its fame in World War II while being operated from land bases by the British, then later refined by a joint US-British effort and exported around the world. Often their carriers have a "ski jump" ramp at the front of the flight deck, which allows Harriers (and any future STOVL aircraft) to take off with a larger payload.
** There are actually three distinct Harrier airframes. The original British Harrier was the most primitive of the three, and the only naval users were
the US Marine Corps (designated AV-8A), the Spanish Navy and the Royal Thai Navy (with hand-me-down Spanish Harriers), all of whom have retired them. Corps.
*
The next US F-8 Crusader was the Sea Harrier, a navalized and considerably improved version that was equipped with radar so that the Royal Navy, having retired all its CATOBAR carriers, could still have fighter support. These were also the fastest Harriers, and were later given the excellent Blue Vixen radar allowing them to fire AMRAAM missiles. Due to budget cuts they were prematurely retired by the Royal Navy before the F-35 was available to replace them. The only other operator is the Indian Navy. The final version is the Anglo-American Harrier II (AV-8B in US service), which has a larger airframe and a correspondingly more powerful engine, giving it superior payload and range. These are used by the Marines and the Spanish and Italian Navies, and some RAF Harrier [=IIs=] were transferred to the Royal Navy as a stopgap replacement for the retired Sea Harriers. Some Marine Corps, Spanish and Italian Harrier [=IIs=] have been upgraded to the AV-8B Plus, which gives them APG-65 radars removed from F/A-18C Hornets when the latter got better ones installed, allowing the Harriers to use AMRAAM. A proposal to similarly upgrade British Harrier [=IIs=] with the Blue Vixen radars from the retired Sea Harriers, but this was rejected as too expensive.
** Its intended replacement is the STOVL variant
one of the F-35 Lightning II (the F-35B), which was developed by an international effort led by the US and UK. Because the F-35B can carry a larger payload than the Harrier, it's unsafe to land it vertically while fully loaded; to avoid the wasteful dropping of unused weapons (which tend to be expensive) before landing, a technique has been developed to use thrust vectoring to slow the last naval aircraft down enough that it can come to a rolling stop without the need designed primarily for arresting gear.
dogfighting with guns, and so was often known as "The Last Gunfighter".
* The French Navy, being the only other one with a modern catapult-equipped aircraft carrier, uses the Dassault Rafale M. It lies somewhere between the standard F/A-18 and the Super Hornet in payload but is stealthier than either of them.


Added DiffLines:


!!!Torpedo Bombers
Designed around the use of air-launched heavyweight torpedoes, these were a major anti-ship threat from the beginning of naval aviation until the advent of anti-ship missiles in the 1950s. Some were operated by land-based air forces and armies, but no self-respecting carrier-operating navy of the era was without them. Torpedo bombing was one of the most dangerous missions in naval aviation, both for the ships being attacked, as the torpedoes tended to have enormous warheads, and for the torpedo bomber crews themselves, as a successful attack required the aircraft to fly low, slow, at close range, and in a straight line directly at an enemy ship and its air defenses. After World War II these aircraft disappeared and their anti-shipping role was taken over by attack aircraft with anti-ship missiles and guided bombs.\\\

'''Examples''':

* The US Navy started World War II with the Douglas TBD Destroyer. While it performed well enough early on in the war, it was a mid-1930s design that was hopelessly outclassed by the Japanese fighters trying to stop it. The devastating loss of 41 out of 47 [=TBDs=] with zero damaging torpedo hits to show for it at the Battle of Midway led the USN to pull it from service, and it was replaced by...
* The Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger. Although the Avenger also took terrible losses at Midway (5 out of 6 lost, no hits) it went on to be the most successful US torpedo bomber of the war, and it's versatility led to its uses in other bombing roles, and even as a firefighting aircraft after the war.
* The primary Japanese torpedo bomber in World War II was the Nakajima [=B5N=] "Kate". As with the TBD, it proved to have significant weaknesses in the early war, and it was replaced by...
* The Nakajima [=B6N=] "Jill". Although a fairly powerful torpedo bomber, it's late introduction during World War II meant that the Imperial Japanese Navy had already exhausted its supply of well-trained aircrew and was facing significant material shortages, and so it never lived up to its full potential.
* The Royal Navy's Fairy Swordfish torpedo bomber famously achieved the damaging torpedo hit that disabled the German battleship Bismarck's rudder and enabled her destruction the next day, despite being hopelessly out of date and flying in terrible weather conditions.

!!!Dive Bombers
Before guided weaponry existed, bombing was notoriously inaccurate. Heavy bombers could carry many bombs, but flying at the high altitude necessary to avoid air defenses meant that the odds of directly hitting a particular target were extremely low. Over land this could be compensated for by using large groups of bombers, flying in formation, and releasing bombs in sequence to cover a large area with bombs, a technique known as "carpet bombing" or "saturation bombing". However this tactic was never very effective at sea, as ships would simply maneuver radically as soon as bombs began falling and easily avoid the target area.\\\

However, if a pilot flew an aircraft in a steep dive and aimed the whole plane at the target, then released the bomb(s) at the last possible second, it was possible to reliably hit ships which were evading wildly, especially with a coordinated attack by several bombers. Thus, naval air forces in the 1920s and 30s began to commission specially designed dive bombers. Contrary to the popular image of bombers these were smaller, high-performance aircraft specialized for maneuverability. They often carried specialized features such as dive brakes, armor-piercing bombs to penetrate capital ship deck armor, specialized bomb-release equipment to prevent the plane and bomb from colliding, and automatic controls to help the pilot pull out of the dive before crashing into the sea. As with torpedo bombers, these became obsolete after World War II with the advent of missiles and other precision-guided weaponry.\\\

'''Examples''':

* The US SBD Dauntless, which famously achieved the hits that sank four Japanese aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway in 1942.
* The Imperial Japanese Aichi D3A "Val" conducted the attack on Pearl Harbor and accounted for the destruction of more allied ships than any other axis aircraft of the war.
* The British Skua.

!!!Attack Aircraft
Aircraft intended for low-level attack of small targets with somewhat more precision than your typical medium or heavy bomber. There were dedicated attack aircraft in armies and air forces prior to World War II, but navies generally did not use them, instead preferring dive or torpedo bombers in an anti-ship role. During World War II this role was generally performed against land targets by dive bombers or modified fighter aircraft, but after the war aircraft dedicated to this role were created, and they largely replaced dive and torpedo bombers in the 1950s. The proliferation of precision-guided munitions in the 1980s and 90s meant that fewer munitions were needed to destroy any particular target and thus aircraft maneuvering performance no longer needed to be sacrificed in order to boost payload capacity. As a result, dedicated attack aircraft have largely been replaced by hybrid fighter-bombers or strike fighters. \\\

'''Examples''':

* The US A-6 Intruder was a heavier attack aircraft of the Cold War and saw extensive action in the Vietnam war, not retiring until the mid 1990s.
* The A-4 Skyhawk was a lighter attack aircraft of the same era, that remains in service to this day in some non-US navies.
* The US Marine Corps and most non-US navies with a fixed wing capability tend to use aircraft with STOVL capability, as it allows for real fighter-bombers to fly off of a smaller carrier without expensive catapults and arresting gear. The most famous sea-borne STOVL aircraft is the Harrier, originally developed by the British, then later refined by a joint US-British effort and exported around the world. Often their carriers have a "ski jump" ramp at the front of the flight deck, which allows Harriers (and any future STOVL aircraft) to take off with a larger payload.
** There are actually three distinct Harrier airframes. The original British Harrier was the most primitive of the three, and the only naval users were the US Marine Corps (designated AV-8A), the Spanish Navy and the Royal Thai Navy (with hand-me-down Spanish Harriers), all of whom have retired them. The next was the Sea Harrier, a navalized and considerably improved version that was equipped with radar so that the Royal Navy, having retired all its CATOBAR carriers, could still have fighter support. These were also the fastest Harriers, and were later given the excellent Blue Vixen radar allowing them to fire AMRAAM missiles. Due to budget cuts they were prematurely retired by the Royal Navy before the F-35 was available to replace them. The only other operator is the Indian Navy. The final version is the Anglo-American Harrier II (AV-8B in US service), which has a larger airframe and a correspondingly more powerful engine, giving it superior payload and range. These are used by the Marines and the Spanish and Italian Navies, and some RAF Harrier [=IIs=] were transferred to the Royal Navy as a stopgap replacement for the retired Sea Harriers. Some Marine Corps, Spanish and Italian Harrier [=IIs=] have been upgraded to the AV-8B Plus, which gives them APG-65 radars removed from F/A-18C Hornets when the latter got better ones installed, allowing the Harriers to use AMRAAM. A proposal to similarly upgrade British Harrier [=IIs=] with the Blue Vixen radars from the retired Sea Harriers, but this was rejected as too expensive.
** Its intended replacement is the STOVL variant of the F-35 Lightning II (the F-35B), which was developed by an international effort led by the US and UK. Because the F-35B can carry a larger payload than the Harrier, it's unsafe to land it vertically while fully loaded; to avoid the wasteful dropping of unused weapons (which tend to be expensive) before landing, a technique has been developed to use thrust vectoring to slow the aircraft down enough that it can come to a rolling stop without the need for arresting gear.

!!!Electronic Warfare Aircraft
EW aircraft provide support to strike and fighter aircraft by disrupting the enemy's ability to make use of the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly by jamming enemy radars or destroying enemy surface-based radar sites.\\\

'''Examples''':

* The EA-6B Prowler was a "stretched" variant of the A-6 Intruder designed for electronic warfare.
* The EA-18G Growler is a dedicated jamming aircraft built into the Super Hornet airframe, which interestingly gives fighter-like performance to a role historically performed by less-maneuverable attack airframes. Often borrowed by the Air Force, who retired their dedicated jammers over a decade ago.

!!!Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft
These planes carry large radars and comprehensive communications suites, in order to look out much further than the ships' radars can see, detect threats before they are close enough to attack the fleet, and then vector other aircraft in to deal with the threat. Any plane with a radar can perform the role, including helicopters, but dedicated aircraft are much more efficient at it.\\\

'''Examples''':

* The E-2C Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage and provides direction to the carrier's aircraft.

!!!Maritime Patrol Aircraft
[=MPAs=] are dedicated to patrolling large areas of water, and reporting what they see there to other ships and land bases, and possibly then attacking what they find. Although they will also report (and attack) surface vessels, they are generally specialized for antisubmarine warfare. Unlike most naval aircraft, it's very common to find land-based aircraft and helicopters in this category; land based [=MPAs=] are often repurposed airliners, for their extended ranges. Until the 1950s, seaplanes were also very popular for this task, but it was found to be impractical to build jet-powered seaplanes and they have not been seriously considered since.\\\

'''Examples''':

* The SH-60 Seahawk helicopter comes in several flavors, of which the SH-60B, SH-60F, and MH-60R variants are designed for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. The HH-60H and MH-60S are meant for general purpose transportation, search and rescue, and special forces support, but can also be used for limited anti-surface ship work.
* Many navies without any other air capability will at least have some helicopters for anti-submarine, anti-surface, and general purpose work. It helps that they can land on pretty much any ship with a decent amount of flat deck space.
* The P-3 Orion is a land-based aircraft with enough range and endurance on-station that it can support fleet operations far from shore. It's replacement, the P-8 Neptune, is based on an Boeing 737 airliner.
* One of the more famous [=MPAs=] of World War II was the PBY Catalina, a seaplane.

!!!Carrier Onboard Delivery
[=CODs=] are cargo aircraft that are also carrier capable, that can ferry people and supplies back and forth between the carrier and shore or other carriers. Helicopters can also be used for this role, albeit typically with shorter range and smaller payloads.\\\

'''Examples''':

* A close sibling of the E-2C, the C-2A Greyhound is the USN's current COD.

!!!Observation and Reconnaissance Aircraft
[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin These planes are designed to conduct reconnaissance and observe the enemy.]] There are a few major subtypes of naval planes here that should be noted.\\\

First, there were spotter aircraft deployed from battleships and cruisers. These were the original form of naval air power, and were meant to make the big guns of the fleet more accurate by spotting where the shells landed relative to enemy ships, and sending back corrections. They were almost exclusively seaplanes as the ships they were launched from did not have the deck space to land on that a carrier might. They largely went away with the advent of radar, but were common in most major navies from the invention of powered flight until the end of the 1940s.\\\

Second, there were scout-bombers and fighters. Usually these were aircraft meant for other roles, but stripped down to increase range and fitted with improved communications equipment. Often they carried some armament for opportunistic attacks but not as much as a dedicated fighter or bomber.\\\

Finally, there are dedicated reconnaissance aircraft which take pictures of and/or gather electronic intelligence from enemy shores. Often these are converted fighters, bombers, or maritime patrol aircraft.\\\

'''Examples''':

* The OS2U Kingfisher was a battleship and cruiser based spotter aircraft of the US Navy.


Anti-submarine mortars were devised in World War II, due to the ineffectiveness of depth charge attacks. These weapons launch explosives ahead of the ship, while there is still sonar contact with the target. The projectiles are equipped with contact fuzes, which detonate on impact, making them more effective at sinking submarines if a hit was scored, and since they only detonated on contact, an unsuccessful attack would not disrupt sonar contact as depth charges would. No longer used today, replaced with lightweight torpedoes and anti-submarine rockets and missiles.\\\

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Anti-submarine mortars were devised in World War II, due to the ineffectiveness of depth charge attacks. These weapons launch explosives ahead of the ship, while there is still sonar contact with the target. The projectiles are equipped with contact fuzes, which detonate on impact, making them more effective at sinking submarines if a hit was scored, and since they only detonated on contact, an unsuccessful attack would not disrupt sonar contact as depth charges would. No longer widely used today, replaced with lightweight torpedoes and anti-submarine rockets and missiles.\\\


* The US Mk 38 Bushmaster is a 25mm chain gun that comes in two varieties: The manually-operated Mod 1 requires a sailor to stand out on deck to aim and fire it, while the Mod 2 is remotely controlled and aimed by video camera (though it can still be manually fired if needed). Both need sailors standing by with extra ammo to reload it with.
** The US Mk 44 Bushmaster II is a 30mm chain gun (as the name implies, and improved version of the Mk 38) that's mounted in a fully automated turret and is loaded from inside, removing the need to have sailors exposed on the deck to reload it. This design requires below-deck mechanisms to function.

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* The US Mk 38 Bushmaster is a 25mm chain gun that comes in two varieties: The manually-operated Mod 1 requires a sailor to stand out on deck to aim and fire it, while the Mod 2 is remotely controlled and aimed by video camera (though it can still be manually fired if needed). Both need sailors standing by with extra ammo These units are self-contained and do not penetrate the deck, making them easy to reload it with.
fit onto vessels of all sizes.
** The US Mk 44 Bushmaster II is a 30mm chain gun (as the name implies, and improved version of the Mk 38) that's mounted in a fully automated turret and is loaded from inside, removing the need to have sailors exposed on the deck to reload it.inside. This design requires below-deck mechanisms to function.



Today, a Vertical Launch System (VLS) is generally used, with missiles placed in silos inside the hull and launched on command. This is basically a box system with a ''much'' higher ammo capacity: it allows you to get a missile off about once a second (or faster), can use different types and sizes of missiles easily, is mechanically much more simple and reliable than the automated reloading and aiming systems associated with rail and box launchers, and reduces your radar cross-section (making you harder to find and hit). However, it isn't easy (or sometimes not even possible) to reload at sea without an ammo ship and special crane. \\\

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Today, a Vertical Launch System (VLS) is generally used, with missiles placed in silos inside the hull and launched on command. This is basically a box system with a ''much'' higher ammo capacity: it allows you to get a missile off about once a second (or faster), can use different types and sizes of missiles easily, is mechanically much more simple and reliable than the automated reloading and aiming systems associated with rail and box launchers, and reduces your radar cross-section (making you harder to find and hit). However, it isn't easy (or sometimes not even possible) to reload at sea without an ammo ship and special crane.crane, and requires some prior consideration during construction due to the amount of below-deck space they take up (meaning they're harder to retrofit onto already-existing ships). \\\


Active sonar is usually mounted on the ship or submarine's hull amidships or on the bow, but can also be mounted on a towed or variable-depth array as described below. Getting it away from the ship's self-noise is not as big a deal with active sonar compared with passive since the pings emitted are in the hundreds of decibels and the echos can usually drown out the ship itself at any kind of realistic detection range.

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Active sonar is usually mounted on the ship or submarine's hull amidships or on the bow, but can also be mounted on a towed or variable-depth array as described below.below, or even on a cable dangling from a helicopter. Getting it away from the ship's self-noise is not as big a deal with active sonar compared with passive since the pings emitted are in the hundreds of decibels and the echos can usually drown out the ship itself at any kind of realistic detection range.


A note about the term "caliber": when talking about small arms (pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc) caliber simply refers to the diameter of gun's bore (and thus the width of the bullet). When talking about Naval guns, caliber refers to the ratio of the width of the gun's bore to the gun's length. In other words, a 16"/50 caliber weapon, like the ones carried by the old ''Iowa'' class battleships, has bore that's 16" wide and a barrel that's 16 x 50 = 800" (66 2/3 feet!) long.\\\

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A note about the term "caliber": when talking about small arms (pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc) caliber simply refers to the diameter of gun's bore (and thus the width of the bullet). When talking about Naval guns, caliber refers to the ratio of the width of the gun's bore to the gun's length. In other words, a 16"/50 caliber weapon, like the ones carried by the old ''Iowa'' class battleships, has a bore that's 16" wide and a barrel that's 16 x 50 = 800" (66 2/3 feet!) long.long. Expressing caliber in terms of gun length vs. barrel width is common because it gives you a bunch of other important information about the gun: in general, a longer caliber will mean the shell travels faster leaving the gun, which makes it more accurate and longer range. However a shorter caliber gun will be lighter, which means it is more likely to be able to track fast-moving targets and it will likely have a higher rate of fire.\\\



* The OTO-Melara 76mm/62 caliber gun is used as a smaller but rapid firing gun used by a number of navies, including the US [=FFGs=] (before they were sold or scrapped) and several of the US Coast Guard's cutters.
* The Bofors 57mm/70 caliber gun is the primary competitor to the OTO-Melara 76mm, which compensates for its less powerful shells with [[MoreDakka higher rate of fire]]. Likewise used by many navies, including the US Littoral Combat Ships and the latest class of Coast Guard cutters.
* Though there are none in active service today, the all-big-gun battleships of the 1900s to 1940s were perhaps the most fearsome naval fire support platforms ever. Their heavy armor meant that they could take fire from land-based guns and ask for more, and they typically mounted upwards of 9 ''very heavy'' caliber guns. The US ''Iowa'' class ships mounted 9 ''16"/50 caliber'' guns which they could fire about every 30 seconds, independently. This means either a full broadside of 9 rounds every thirty seconds or a rolling fire of 1 round every 3 1/3 seconds. [[MoreDakka For an enemy soldier, this was equivalent to a Volkswagen filled with high explosives landing on your position from 20 miles away every few seconds until the Marines told them to stop!]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill That, or 9 50-foot craters suddenly appearing at your position at once.]]
** The Iowa and Wisconsin were last used during Desert Storm in 1991 to shell Iraqi positions. The Iraqis realized that RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (some of the first [=UAVs=] used by the US Navy) were being used to spot targets for the big guns, and eventually just started surrendering when the UAV flew overhead, rather than get blown to smithereens from a ship so far away they couldn't even see her.

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* The Italian-designed OTO-Melara 76mm/62 caliber gun is used as a smaller but rapid firing gun used by a number of navies, including the US [=FFGs=] (before they were sold or scrapped) and several of the US Coast Guard's cutters.
* The Swedish-designed Bofors 57mm/70 caliber gun is the primary competitor to the OTO-Melara 76mm, which compensates for its less powerful shells with [[MoreDakka higher rate of fire]]. Likewise used by many navies, including the US Littoral Combat Ships and the latest class of Coast Guard cutters.
* Though there are none in active service today, the all-big-gun battleships of the 1900s to 1940s were perhaps the most fearsome naval fire support platforms ever. Their ever.
** Against naval targets, these guns could punch through absurd amounts of armor at long range; The British battleship HMS ''Warspite'' famously achieved a damaging hit against the Italian battleship ''Guilio Cesare'' at a range of about 26,000 yards (~24km) with her 15"/42 caliber guns, and the German battleship ''Scharnhorst'' achieved a hit at roughly the same range on the British aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'' with her 38cm/48.4 caliber guns.
** Against ground targets, their
heavy armor meant that they could take fire from land-based guns and ask for more, and they typically mounted upwards of 9 ''very heavy'' caliber guns. The US ''Iowa'' class ships for example mounted 9 ''16"/50 caliber'' guns which they could fire about every 30 seconds, independently. This means either a full broadside of 9 rounds every thirty seconds or a rolling fire of 1 round every 3 1/3 seconds. [[MoreDakka For an enemy soldier, this was equivalent to a Volkswagen filled with high explosives landing on your position from 20 miles away every few seconds until the Marines told them to stop!]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill That, or 9 50-foot craters suddenly appearing at your position at once.]]
** *** The Iowa and Wisconsin were last used during Desert Storm in 1991 to shell Iraqi positions. The Iraqis realized that RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (some of the first [=UAVs=] used by the US Navy) were being used to spot targets for the big guns, and eventually just started surrendering when the UAV flew overhead, rather than get blown to smithereens from a ship so far away they couldn't even see her.



** The Japanese 18.1"/45 caliber Type 94 guns of the ''Yamato''-class battleships were the largest guns ever mounted on a ship. They were officially designated as being [[BlatantLies 40cm (15.7")]] to conceal their true size. Their shells each weighed 1.5 tons. Each gun weighed 150 tons and each triple turret weighed 2,700 tons...larger than most destroyers of the time.

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** The Japanese 18.1"/45 caliber Type 94 guns of the ''Yamato''-class battleships were the largest guns ever mounted on a ship. They were officially designated as being [[BlatantLies 40cm (15.7")]] to conceal their true 46cm (18.1") size. Their shells each weighed 1.5 tons. Each gun weighed 150 tons and each triple turret weighed 2,700 tons...larger than most destroyers of the time.


As the name would imply, these missiles fly to their target in a ballistic arc. They are not nearly as accurate as cruise missiles but typically have much longer (intercontinental) range and response time and as such are today only carried by submarines and fitted with nuclear warheads. Each missile can be fitted with Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) which are warheads that can hit several targets independently, and they can be fired while submerged. The job of [[UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips [=SSBNs=] or "Boomers"]] are to hide until such time as they are ordered to fire these, and usually carry 1-2 dozen of them. [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Thankfully,]] no nuclear ballistic missiles have ever been fired in anger.\\\

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As the name would imply, these missiles fly to their target in a ballistic arc. arc, with some guidance based on their starting position to put them on the correct arc before they coast to the target. They are not nearly as accurate as cruise missiles but typically have much longer (intercontinental) range and much faster response time time[[note]]A running [[GallowsHumor dark joke]] among nuclear missile operators being "delivery in 30 minutes or the second one's free!"[[/note]] and as such are today only carried by submarines and fitted with nuclear warheads. Each missile can be fitted with Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) which are warheads that can hit several targets independently, and they can be fired while submerged. The job of [[UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips [=SSBNs=] or "Boomers"]] are to hide until such time as they are ordered to fire these, and usually carry 1-2 dozen of them. [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Thankfully,]] no nuclear ballistic missiles have ever been fired in anger.\\\


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!!Unguided Rockets

Similarly to ballistic missiles, but on a much smaller scale of both range and warhead, these are rockets that are fired from a ship in an unguided ballistic arc. Due to the way ships move up and down with the seas these are not very accurate and rarely employed against other ships. Instead they mostly serve in an shore bombardment role, where they can quickly saturate a large area with explosives. Ships with this sort of capability seem to come and go as the demand for shore bombardment rises and falls; For example, they were very popular in WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam, but few ships today mount any sort of bombardment rockets.


* The US RGM/UGM-109B Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) was introduced in 1983 but retired in 1994. It was a variant of the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) discussed below. The US Navy has since realized it has fallen behind in ASCM technology and as of 2020 is modifying some of its TLAMs to have an anti-ship mode again.

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* The US RGM/UGM-109B Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) was introduced in 1983 but retired in 1994. It was a variant of the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) discussed below. The US Navy has since realized it has fallen behind in ASCM technology and as of 2020 is modifying some of its TLAMs [=TLAMs=] to have an anti-ship mode again.



Active sonar is usually mounted on the ship's hull amidships or on the bow, but can also be

to:

Active sonar is usually mounted on the ship's ship or submarine's hull amidships or on the bow, but can also be
be mounted on a towed or variable-depth array as described below. Getting it away from the ship's self-noise is not as big a deal with active sonar compared with passive since the pings emitted are in the hundreds of decibels and the echos can usually drown out the ship itself at any kind of realistic detection range.



* Hull-mounted sonar, which is hardy and convenient, but less sensitive and more likely to be drowned out by the sound of the vessel it is attached to, and towed-array sonar, which is towed well behind the ship and is much more sensitive and less vulnerable to one's own noise, but is also more fragile and may restrict maneuvering.

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* Hull-mounted sonar, which is hardy and convenient, but less sensitive and more likely to be drowned out by the sound of the vessel it is attached to, and towed-array particularly if it is going fast.
* Towed-array
sonar, which is towed in a long array that looks like a very thick cable, well behind the ship and or submarine. It is much more sensitive and less vulnerable to one's own noise, but is also more fragile and may restrict maneuvering.
maneuvering. The depth of the array also changes whenever the ship changes speed (the faster you go, the shallower it gets). This makes it harder to use in shallow water, since if you slow down enough to hear things over your own self-noise, the array may droop into the bottom.
* Variable-depth sonar, which is mounted on a pod or sled, towed behind the ship, and has fins which can be controlled from the towing ship to allow you to place it at whatever depth is convenient while maintaining an optimal speed through the water. It has most of the advantages of a towed array and eliminates the depth-control drawback, at the price of added expense, more complicated maintenance and repairs, and a higher likelihood of it being broken.


\\\



The most insidious mines use a combination of the above; for example, there are mines that sit on the bottom, listen acoustically for a certain ship type, and then only float to the surface after a certain number have passed by, and only detonate when it gets the right magnetic signature to be sure it is close enough.

Incidentally, mines do not need to actually hit any ships to be effective; much like their land-based brethren, the mere knowledge (or rumor) that a minefield exists can serve as an effective deterrent and prevent hostile forces from entering an area. And if the enemy is determined to enter that area anyway, they must either accept that they're going to lose some ships to mines or they will have to tie up significant personnel and resources with mine clearance operations before they can bring in any other forces.

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The most insidious mines use a combination of the above; for example, there are mines that sit on the bottom, listen acoustically for a certain ship type, and then only float to the surface after a certain number have passed by, and only detonate when it gets the right magnetic signature to be sure it is close enough. \n\n \\\

Incidentally, mines do not need to actually hit any ships to be effective; much like their land-based brethren, the mere knowledge (or rumor) that a minefield exists can serve as an effective deterrent and prevent hostile forces from entering an area. And if the enemy is determined to enter that area anyway, they must either accept that they're going to lose some ships to mines or they will have to tie up significant personnel and resources with mine clearance operations before they can bring in any other forces.
forces.\\\


The orginal naval sensor was naturally the "Mark I Mod 0 Eyeball", but ever since the idea of a telescope came about in the 1600s, people have been looking at ways to improve on that. Modern optical sensors often come with myriad of useful features, such as very high magnification, automatic stabilization systems, night vision, thermal vision, and automatic tracking of targets. Even with all these advancements, however, the use of common, inexpensive binoculars is still practiced by all navies for navigation and observation.

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The orginal original naval sensor was naturally the [[ExpospeakGag "Mark I Mod 0 Eyeball", Eyeball"]], but ever since the idea of a telescope came about in the 1600s, people have been looking at ways to improve on that. Modern optical sensors often come with myriad of useful features, such as very high magnification, automatic stabilization systems, night vision, thermal vision, and automatic tracking of targets. Even with all these advancements, however, the use of common, inexpensive binoculars is still practiced by all navies for navigation and observation.


Main guns were also the original form of shore bombardment. Due to their mechanized nature, their firing rate is much higher than field guns of similar caliber, which have to be light enough to be dragged around by trucks. One ship can provide nearly the same amount of shells on target at a time as an entire battery of field artillery. Their main limitation is typically range; the ship can only get as close to shore as its draft allows.\\\

Modern guns are typically of lower caliber (3" to 5") than their predecessors from before WWII (12" to 18") but because of the overwhelming power of modern Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles ([=ASCMs=]), most modern ships are not particularly heavily armored. Naval architects reason that a direct hit by an ASCM would be game over regardless of armor; instead they use the available space and weight for more self-defense weaponry. Thus smaller shells will do just fine, if you can manage to get close enough to use them in the first place. \\\

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Main guns were also the original form of shore bombardment. Due to their mechanized nature, their firing rate is much higher than field guns of similar caliber, which have to be light enough to be dragged around by trucks.trucks or fitted in a tracked vehicle. One ship can provide nearly the same amount of shells on target at a time as an entire battery of field artillery. Their main limitation is typically range; the ship can only get as close to shore as its draft allows.\\\

Modern guns are typically of lower caliber (3" to 5") than their predecessors from before WWII (12" to 18") but because of the overwhelming power of modern Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles ([=ASCMs=]), most modern ships are not particularly heavily armored. Guns prior to WWII were built bigger and bigger because the larger the gun, the larger and heavier the shell they could throw and the further they could send it. Battleship guns in particular were built to penetrate battleship armor, necessitating huge, heavy shells that could penetrate through steel that was literally several feet thick. [=ASCMs=] on the other hand carry even larger warheads than the shells, move much faster, and have much longer ranges. Modern Naval architects architects, therefore, reason that a direct hit by an ASCM would be game over regardless of armor; instead they use the available space and weight for more self-defense weaponry. Thus smaller shells will do just fine, if you can manage to get close enough to use them in the first place. \\\



* The US Mk 45 5"/54 caliber "lightweight" gun (and the 62 caliber version). Lightweight relative to earlier 5"/54 caliber guns, that is; the previous Mk 42 gun of the same caliber had a barrel that was some 50% heavier and a turret assembly nearly triple the Mk 45's weight. This comes at the expense of its rate of fire; at a maximum of 20 rounds per minute the Mk 45 is the slowest-firing ~5" gun currently in service and half the rate of fire of the Mk 42 it replaced.

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* The US Mk 45 5"/54 caliber "lightweight" gun (and the 62 caliber version). Lightweight relative to earlier 5"/54 caliber guns, that is; the previous Mk 42 gun of the same caliber had a barrel that was some 50% heavier and a turret assembly nearly triple the Mk 45's weight. This comes at the expense of its rate of fire; at a maximum of 20 rounds per minute the Mk 45 is the slowest-firing ~5" gun currently in service and half the rate of fire of the Mk 42 it replaced. This tradeoff is deemed acceptable for the reduced crew required to operate and maintain it and the weight savings allowing for more of other important equipment (particularly missile systems) to be installed.



* The OTO-Melara 76mm/62 caliber gun is used as a smaller but rapid firing gun used by a number of navies, including the US [=FFGs=] and several of the US Coast Guard's cutters.

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* The OTO-Melara 76mm/62 caliber gun is used as a smaller but rapid firing gun used by a number of navies, including the US [=FFGs=] (before they were sold or scrapped) and several of the US Coast Guard's cutters.



** The nine gun/three turret layout wasn't settled on until relatively late in the game, striking a balance of firepower (very heavy, long-ranged guns) and speed (more turrets or guns meant more weight to slow a ship down). Earlier designs carried varying numbers of guns in varying numbers of turrets, with one British dreadnought mounting ''fourteen'' heavy guns in seven turrets (named for the days of the week, natch. For those of you wondering, it's the HMS ''Agincourt'', armed with 12"/45 caliber guns).

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** The nine gun/three turret layout wasn't settled on until relatively late in the game, striking a balance of firepower (very heavy, long-ranged guns) and speed (more turrets or guns meant more weight to slow a ship down). Earlier designs carried varying numbers of guns in varying numbers of turrets, with one British dreadnought mounting ''fourteen'' heavy guns in seven turrets (named for the days of the week, natch. For those of you wondering, it's it was the HMS ''Agincourt'', armed with 12"/45 caliber guns).



With the arrival of aircraft during WWI came weapons to keep them away. During WWII these were the primary anti-aircraft weapons, but were rendered obsolete by the combination of faster carrier aircraft, long range missiles, point defense missiles and CIWS. These are still in limited use for defense against "low-slow fliers" like helicopters or hypothetical small kamikaze aircraft flown by terrorists, as well as their effectiveness against small watercraft. This section focuses on dedicated anti-aircraft guns; note that other guns mentioned on this page may also be used against aircraft if needed.\\\

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With the arrival of aircraft during WWI came weapons to keep them away. During WWII these were the primary anti-aircraft weapons, but were rendered obsolete by the combination of faster carrier aircraft, long range missiles, point defense missiles and CIWS. These are still in limited use for defense against "low-slow fliers" like helicopters or hypothetical small kamikaze aircraft flown by terrorists, as well as for their effectiveness in anti-surface mode against small watercraft. This section focuses on dedicated anti-aircraft guns; note that other guns mentioned on this page may also be used against aircraft if needed.\\\



Separately from or in cooperation with point defense missiles, these are radar-aimed gun systems designed as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles. They are typically [[ImprobableAimingSkills highly accurate]] and have [[MoreDakka absurdly high rates of fire]]; with the drawback of short range-even if you do score a hit, momentum will probably still carry the fragments of the incoming missile into the ship. Their ammo consumption is also generally so ludicrously high that even firing in bursts you may run out of ammo even well before a point-defense missile system would.\\\

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Separately from or in cooperation with point defense missiles, missiles (see below), these are radar-aimed gun systems designed as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles. They are typically [[ImprobableAimingSkills highly accurate]] and have [[MoreDakka absurdly high rates of fire]]; with the drawback of short range-even if you do score a hit, momentum will probably still carry the fragments of the incoming missile into the ship. Their ammo consumption is also generally so ludicrously high that even firing in bursts you may run out of ammo even well before a point-defense missile system would.\\\



* The US Standard series, especially linked in with the Aegis system that allows for dozens of targets to be engaged simultaneously and for sharing of targeting information. The most recent iteration is the long-range RIM-174 Standard Missile 6. Originally fired from single- or double-rail launchers, the Mk 41 VLS has become almost universal over the past few decades.

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* The US Standard series, especially linked in with the Aegis system that allows for dozens of targets to be engaged simultaneously and for sharing of targeting information. The most recent iteration is the long-range RIM-174 Standard Missile 6. Originally fired from single- or double-rail launchers, the Mk 41 VLS has become almost universal over the past few decades.decades. Comes in several varieties:
** The RIM-66 SM-1/SM-2 MR. SM is for Standard Missile, MR is for Medium Range. The original SM-1 is no longer used by the US Navy but some international customers still use them. The SM-2 variant is still used after several updates. Range is roughly 40NM.
** The RIM-67 Standard SM-2 ER. ER is for Extended Range; it was basically an SM-2 with a bigger diameter rocket booster mounted to the bottom as a first stage and the normal motor used as a second stage, in order to increase it's effective range out to roughly 90NM. The last edition of this missile was designated as the RIM-156A. No longer used and effectively replaced by the SM-6, below.
** The RIM-161 SM-3 is a variant designed exclusively for midcourse Ballistic Missile Defense (see that topic below). It is basically a small, 3-stage space launch vehicle whose payload is a spacecraft designed to directly collide with other spacecraft. Can also be used as an anti-satellite weapon.
** The most recent iteration is the long-range RIM-174 ERAM/SM-6. ERAM stands for Extended Range Active Missile. It combines all the best features of the RIM-66, RIM-67/156, and RIM-171, plus the seeker from the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile into a single long-range missile. It's equally suited to killing aircraft, incoming anti-ship cruise missiles, ballistic missiles in the terminal part of their trajectory, and even smaller surface ships and boats. It has a range of around 130NM.



Found on most smaller ships and also ships like carriers which have no other air-defense systems. These are generally very short-range and are installed as a last ditch effort to save the ship from being hit by missiles that the area-defense weapons miss. These sacrifice range and explosive power for for speed and accuracy, and unlike CIWS systems have the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously.\\\

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Found on most smaller ships and also ships like carriers which have no other air-defense systems. These are generally very short-range and are installed as a last ditch effort to save the ship from being hit by missiles that the area-defense weapons miss. These sacrifice range and explosive power for for speed and accuracy, and unlike CIWS systems have the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously. Can be deployed from a VLS but often still found in box launchers for the ease of mounting on ships that can't fit any larger weapons.\\\



* The US AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon (the designation varies depending on whether it's air, surface or submarine launched)

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* The US AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon (the designation varies depending on whether it's air, surface or submarine launched)launched).



* The US RGM/UGM-109B Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) was introduced in 1983 but retired in 1994. It was a variant of the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) discussed below. The US Navy has since realized it has fallen behind in ASCM technology and as of 2020 is modifying some of its TLAMs to have an anti-ship mode again.



Anti-submarine mortars were devised in World War II, due to the ineffectiveness of depth charge attacks. These weapons launch explosives ahead of the ship, while there is still sonar contact with the target. The projectiles are equipped with contact fuzes, which detonate on impact, making them more effective at sinking submarines if a hit was scored, and since they only detonated on contact, an unsuccessful attack would not disrupt sonar contact as depth charges would.\\\

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Anti-submarine mortars were devised in World War II, due to the ineffectiveness of depth charge attacks. These weapons launch explosives ahead of the ship, while there is still sonar contact with the target. The projectiles are equipped with contact fuzes, which detonate on impact, making them more effective at sinking submarines if a hit was scored, and since they only detonated on contact, an unsuccessful attack would not disrupt sonar contact as depth charges would. No longer used today, replaced with lightweight torpedoes and anti-submarine rockets and missiles.\\\




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* Payload
** High explosive warhead (the most common)
** Nuclear warhead
** Lightweight torpedo
** Heavyweight torpedo



Incidentally, mines do not need to actually hit any ships to be effective; much like their land-based brethren, the mere knowledge (or rumor) that a minefield exists can serve as an effective deterrent and prevent hostile forces from entering an area. And if the enemy is determined to enter that area anyway, they must either accept that they're going to lose some ships to mines or they will have to tie up significant personnel and resources with mine clearance operations before they can bring in any other forces.



* The F-14 Tomcat of ''Film/TopGun'' fame was considered the most powerful naval fighter of its day. It is now retired from US service with a few hanging around in Iran. Where they're used on land due to lack of carriers, and not actually used that much at all which is why they're not too worn out to fly like the American ones. Its AIM-54 Phoenix missile was the longest-range air-to-air weapon ever deployed, able to reach out and touch someone upward of 100 nautical miles (190 km) away, but [[TooAwesomeToUse they were almost never used outside of tests due to being so expensive]].
* Its replacement, the F/A-18 Hornet and especially the enlarged F/A-18E Super Hornet, is a "strike fighter" which can attack surface or air targets.
** There's also the EA-18G Growler, a dedicated jamming aircraft built into the Super Hornet airframe. Often borrowed by the Air Force, who retired their dedicated jammers over a decade ago.
* Finally now entering service is the C-model of the F-35, which has greater range and payload than the B-variant due to omitting the lift fan. And, for that matter, the Super Hornet it will be complementing for the foreseeable future.
* The E-2C Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage.
* The SH-60 Seahawk helicopter comes in several flavors, of which the B, F, and R variants are designed for antisubmarine warfare.
** Many navies without any other air capability will at least have some helicopters for anti-submarine, anti-surface, and general purpose work. It helps that they can land on pretty much any ship with a decent amount of flat deck space.

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* As the US Navy has the world's largest carrier fleet it also has the world's largest selection of carrier aircraft:
**
The F-14 Tomcat of ''Film/TopGun'' fame was considered the most powerful naval fighter of its day. It is now retired from US service with a few hanging around in Iran. Where they're used on land due to lack of carriers, and not actually used that much at all which is why they're not too worn out to fly like the American ones. Its AIM-54 Phoenix missile was the longest-range air-to-air weapon ever deployed, able to reach out and touch someone upward of 100 nautical miles (190 km) away, but [[TooAwesomeToUse they were almost never used outside of tests due to being so expensive]].
* ** Its replacement, the F/A-18 Hornet and especially the enlarged F/A-18E Super Hornet, is a "strike fighter" which can attack surface or air targets.
** *** There's also the EA-18G Growler, a dedicated jamming aircraft built into the Super Hornet airframe. Often borrowed by the Air Force, who retired their dedicated jammers over a decade ago.
* ** Finally now entering service is the C-model of the F-35, which has greater range and payload than the B-variant due to omitting the lift fan. And, for that matter, the Super Hornet it will be complementing for the foreseeable future.
* ** The E-2C Hawkeye provides long-range radar coverage.
*
coverage and provides direction to the carrier's aircraft. Its close sibling the C-2A Greyhound is a carrier-capable transport that can ferry people and supplies back and forth between the carrier and shore or other carriers.
**
The SH-60 Seahawk helicopter comes in several flavors, of which the B, F, SH-60B, SH-60F, and R MH-60R variants are designed for antisubmarine warfare.
**
anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. The HH-60H and MH-60S are meant for general purpose transportation, search and rescue, and special forces support, but can also be used for limited anti-surface ship work.
*
Many navies without any other air capability will at least have some helicopters for anti-submarine, anti-surface, and general purpose work. It helps that they can land on pretty much any ship with a decent amount of flat deck space.



** There are actually three distinct Harrier airframes. The original British Harrier was the most primitive of the three, and the only naval users were the US Marine Corps (designated AV-8A), the Spanish Navy and the Royal Thai Navy (with hand-me-down Spanish Harriers), all of whom have retired them. The next was the Sea Harrier, a navalized and considerably improved version that was equipped with radar so that the Royal Navy, having retired all its CATOBAR carriers, could still have fighter support. These were also the fastest Harriers, and were later given the excellent Blue Vixen radar allowing them to fire AMRAAM missiles. Due to budget cuts they were prematurely retired by the Royal Navy before the F-35 was available to replace them. The only other operator is the Indian Navy. The final version is the Anglo-American Harrier II (AV-8B in US service), which has a larger airframe and a correspondingly more powerful engine, giving it superior payload and range. These are used by the Marines and the Spanish and Italian Navies, and some RAF Harrier [=IIs=] were transferred to the Royal Navy as a stopgap replacement for the retired Sea Harriers. Some Marine Corps, Spanish and Italian Harrier [=IIs=] have been upgraded to the AV-8B Plus, which gives them APG-65 radars removed from F/A-18C Hornets when the latter got better ones installed, allowing the Harriers to use AMRAAM. A proposal to similarly upgrade British Harrier [=IIs=] with the Blue Vixen radars from the retired Sea Harriers, but this was rejected as too expensive.



** There are actually three distinct Harrier airframes. The original British Harrier was the most primitive of the three, and the only naval users were the US Marine Corps (designated AV-8A), the Spanish Navy and the Royal Thai Navy (with hand-me-down Spanish Harriers), all of whom have retired them. The next was the Sea Harrier, a navalized and considerably improved version that was equipped with radar so that the Royal Navy, having retired all its CATOBAR carriers, could still have fighter support. These were also the fastest Harriers, and were later given the excellent Blue Vixen radar allowing them to fire AMRAAM missiles. Due to budget cuts they were prematurely retired by the Royal Navy before the F-35 was available to replace them. The only other operator is the Indian Navy. The final version is the Anglo-American Harrier II (AV-8B in US service), which has a larger airframe and a correspondingly more powerful engine, giving it superior payload and range. These are used by the Marines and the Spanish and Italian Navies, and some RAF Harrier [=IIs=] were transferred to the Royal Navy as a stopgap replacement for the retired Sea Harriers. Some Marine Corps, Spanish and Italian Harrier [=IIs=] have been upgraded to the AV-8B Plus, which gives them APG-65 radars removed from F/A-18C Hornets when the latter got better ones installed, allowing the Harriers to use AMRAAM. A proposal to similarly upgrade British Harrier [=IIs=] with the Blue Vixen radars from the retired Sea Harriers, but this was rejected as too expensive.



One of the hardest problems in early naval gunnery was the problem of determining the range to target. The angle of the target is easy to figure out, and it's relative speed laterally to the firing ship is relatively easy to calculate by measuring the change in it's angle, so you can figure out the lead required. But figuring out how far away it is was very difficult to do; and during combat it often boiled down to firing a salvo, observing the splashes produced, and then adjusting and trying again until a hit was achieved. This is obviously inefficent and also gives the enemy the opportunity to evade. Every time the range changed significantly, you needed to start the process over again; so usually what would happen is that you'd have to close with the enemy until the range so short that it was impossible to miss, exposing yourself to enemy fire in turn.\\\

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One of the hardest problems in early naval gunnery was the problem of determining the range to target. The angle of the target is easy to figure out, and it's relative speed laterally to the firing ship is relatively easy to calculate by measuring the change in it's angle, so you can figure out the lead required. But figuring out how far away it is was very difficult to do; and during combat it often boiled down to firing a salvo, observing the splashes produced, and then adjusting and trying again until a hit was achieved. This is obviously inefficent inefficient and also gives the enemy the opportunity to evade. Every time the range changed significantly, you needed to start the process over again; so usually what would happen is that you'd have to close with the enemy until the range so short that it was impossible to miss, exposing yourself to enemy fire in turn.\\\



Radar was invented just prior to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and its development revolutionized naval warfare. Radar works by sending a radio wave out, waiting for a reflection of that wave off a solid object to return, and then measuring the time the round trip took. Knowing the speed of the radio wave, you can easily calculate the distance it covered. Not only did the invention of radar neatly solve the ranging problem, it also allowed targets to be accurately be detected and tracked well beyond the range they could be seen at, at night, and through smoke and fog. Modern radars can be generally divided up by what function they are designed for:

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Radar was invented just prior to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and its development revolutionized naval warfare. Radar works by sending a radio wave out, waiting for a reflection of that wave off a solid object to return, and then measuring the time the round trip took. Knowing the speed of the radio wave, you can easily calculate the distance it covered. Not only did the invention of radar neatly solve the ranging problem, it also allowed targets to be accurately be detected and tracked well beyond the range they could be seen at, at night, and through smoke and fog. Modern radars can be generally divided up by what function they are designed for:
for. Bear in mind, if you have a capable enough radar (and enough money to afford it) you can often combine some or all of these functions into one system:



Surface search radars are designed to look for objects close to the surface of the sea. As ships tend to move more slowly than aircraft, they do not have the same tracking speed as air search radars, but tend to be much smaller, lighter, and cheaper. They are ranged mainly because the curvature of the earth gets in the way of seeing objects low to the water, and so tend to use less power as it's not necessary to look so far away. Some surface search radars are futher specialized for anti-submarine warfare, being designed to look for small objects very close to the water, like periscopes.

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Surface search radars are designed to look for objects close to the surface of the sea. As ships tend to move more slowly than aircraft, they do not have the same tracking speed as air search radars, but tend to be much smaller, lighter, and cheaper. They are ranged relatively short-ranged mainly because the curvature of the earth gets in the way of seeing objects low to the water, and so tend to use less power as it's not necessary to look so far away. Some surface search radars are futher further specialized for anti-submarine warfare, being designed to look for small objects very close to the water, like periscopes.



Many ships and aircraft have warning systems that will detect these signals and tell operators that they are being targeted by a fire control radar, leading to an entertaining secondary use for these systems as a psychological warfare tool: if those alarms are going off, someone may be trying to kill you, and perhaps you should leave the area now! However, operators must also bear in mind that doing this to someone is generally considered impolite and provocative and depending on the country, the reply might be in the form of weapons fire or a ''declaration of war''.

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Many ships and aircraft have warning systems that will detect these signals and tell operators that they are being targeted by a fire control radar, leading to an entertaining secondary use for these systems as a psychological warfare tool: if those alarms are going off, someone may be trying to kill you, and perhaps you should leave the area now! However, operators must also bear in mind that doing this to someone is generally considered impolite and provocative during peacetime and depending on the country, the reply might be in the form of weapons fire or a ''declaration of war''.



Radar can also be used to find one's bearings, by checking distances and angular bearings to land or known objects or aids. Most large watercraft today mount some kind of navigation radar, and warships are no exception.

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Radar can also be used to find one's bearings, by checking distances and angular bearings to land or known objects or aids. Most large watercraft today mount some kind of navigation radar, and warships are no exception.
exception. Often surface search radars are handy for navigation as well.



Nearly all submarines, and any surface ship designed for antisubmarine warfare, have an active sonar system installed, but most navies are very cautious in their use of it, as the very ping it produces both gives away your general position and instantly identifies you as vessel designed for undersea warfare. Since it's much harder to make a surface ship stealthy in the first place, they are much more likely to "go active" than submarines, who will likely only do so if they are convinced they've already been detected anyway.

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Nearly all submarines, and any surface ship designed for antisubmarine warfare, have an active sonar system installed, but most navies are very cautious in their use of it, as the very ping it produces both gives away your general position and instantly identifies you as vessel designed for undersea warfare. Since it's much harder to make a surface ship stealthy in the first place, they are much more likely to "go active" than submarines, who will likely only do so if they are convinced they've already been detected anyway.
anyway.\\\

Active sonar is usually mounted on the ship's hull amidships or on the bow, but can also be



Passive sonar works by simply listening to the water with hydrophones, observing the direction the sound is coming from, and analyzing its frequency and other characteristics. This is of course much stealthier than active sonar, and can give you a lot of information about whatever you are listening to; skilled sonar operators can readily identify a ship's class by how it sounds and what frequencies it produces, and can sometimes even identify individual ships within a class and ''what equipment they have running''. However, it has one key drawback compared to active sonar: it won't tell you the range to the target, and thus it also won't give you data about its course and speed. It is possible to get an estimate of the range using a technique called Target Motion Analysis, but this takes an extended period of time and is not very precise. Passive sonar further subdivides into hull-mounted sonar, which is hardy and convenient, but less sensitive and more likely to be drowned out by the sound of the vessel it is attached to, and towed-array sonar, which is towed well behind the ship and is much more sensitive and less vulnerable to one's own noise, but is also more fragile and may restrict maneuvering.

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Passive sonar works by simply listening to the water with hydrophones, observing the direction the sound is coming from, and analyzing its frequency and other characteristics. This is of course much stealthier than active sonar, and can give you a lot of information about whatever you are listening to; skilled sonar operators can readily identify a ship's class by how it sounds and what frequencies it produces, and can sometimes even identify individual ships within a class and ''what equipment they have running''. However, it has one key drawback compared to active sonar: it won't tell you the range to the target, and thus it also won't give you data about its course and speed. It is possible to get an estimate of the range using a technique called Target Motion Analysis, but this takes an extended period of time and is not very precise. Passive sonar further subdivides into hull-mounted into:

*Hull-mounted
sonar, which is hardy and convenient, but less sensitive and more likely to be drowned out by the sound of the vessel it is attached to, and towed-array sonar, which is towed well behind the ship and is much more sensitive and less vulnerable to one's own noise, but is also more fragile and may restrict maneuvering.



Sonobouys are not strictly weapons per se but are still an important part of hunting submarines. They are basically disposable buoys with small sonar systems hanging underneath them, underwater, that can be launched by aircraft or thrown over the side by surface ships. The acoustic data they gather is then transmitted back to the parent ship or aircraft, effectively providing the originator with the ability to listen in more than one place at the same time. Some sonobuoys use active sonar, while others use passive sonar only; most anti-submarine aircraft carry some of both types.

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Sonobouys are not strictly weapons per se but are still an important part of hunting submarines. They are basically disposable buoys with small sonar systems hanging underneath them, underwater, that can be launched by aircraft or thrown over the side by surface ships. The acoustic data they gather is then transmitted back to the parent ship or aircraft, effectively providing the originator with the ability to listen in more than one place at the same time. Some sonobuoys use active sonar, while others use passive sonar only; most anti-submarine aircraft carry some of both types.



These simply tell you which direction a radio signal is coming from. By using several of them on different vessels, and then comparing what direction they see the signal coming from, you can triangulate the position of the transmitter, without using your own radar.

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These simply tell you which direction a radio signal is coming from. By using several of them on different vessels, and then comparing what direction they see the signal coming from, you can triangulate the position of the transmitter, without using your own radar.
radar. These were used heavily in World War II to find German submarines and are still relevant today for finding anything with a radar or radio.



* In the Midcourse phase, the missile's motor has burned out and it is coasting on a ballistic arc towards its target. For [=ICBMs=], this will be outside the atmosphere. During this phase the boost stages will drop off and if the missile has multiple warheads, they will separate and maneuver to point towards their respective targets. Surface-based radars should be able to easily detect them now, and once they are being tracked it becomes relatively easy to figure out where they are headed. This is the longest phase, giving a defender the most chances to intercept them. The hard part about intercepting in midcourse is that most missile designers today include decoys with their warheads that make it very difficult to tell which are real warheads and hit them, and again, the warheads are moving very, ''very'' fast.

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* In the Midcourse phase, the missile's motor has burned out and it is coasting on a ballistic arc towards its target. For [=ICBMs=], this will be outside the atmosphere. During this phase the boost stages will drop off and if the missile has multiple warheads, they will separate and maneuver to point towards their respective targets. Surface-based radars should be able to easily detect them now, and once they are being tracked it becomes relatively easy to figure out where they are headed. This is the longest phase, giving a defender the most chances to intercept them. The hard part about intercepting in midcourse is that most missile designers today include decoys with their warheads that make it very difficult to tell which are real warheads and hit them, and again, the warheads are moving very, ''very'' fast.fast and are high up in space.


Navies have been individually arming sailors since navies were invented. During the [[WoodenShipsAndIronMen Age of Sail]], boarding actions carried out by crewman with axes, cutlasses, and pistols were an important means of winning battles. While the invention of accurate long-range guns ended the days of daring boarding actions, most ships have a team of specially-trained sailors for boarding (ostensibly) unarmed vessels and for in-port security. As well as occasionally at-sea security, as seen on the night of October 7, 2009 when [[RuthlessModernPirates Somali pirates]] boarded what they mistook for a civilian tanker but was actually [[OhCrap a French Navy command ship]]. And on January 12, 2012 when they did it again, this time to a Spanish Navy replenishment ship. Boarding teams are usually at least as well-armed as the average infantryman on land and will typically have nifty things like ballistic vests that are also flotation devices, rope ladders with hooks and poles for getting up the side of ships, and tools for cutting through metal doors. Their weapons are generally more compact so as to be easier to maneuver inside cramped ships.

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Navies have been individually arming sailors since navies were invented. During the [[WoodenShipsAndIronMen Age of Sail]], boarding actions carried out by crewman with axes, cutlasses, and pistols were an important means of winning battles. While the invention of accurate long-range guns ended the days of daring boarding actions, most ships have a team of specially-trained sailors for boarding (ostensibly) unarmed vessels and for in-port security. As well as occasionally at-sea security, as seen on the night of October 7, 2009 when [[RuthlessModernPirates Somali pirates]] boarded what they mistook for a civilian tanker but was actually [[OhCrap [[BullyingADragon a French Navy command ship]]. And on January 12, 2012 when they did it again, this time to a Spanish Navy replenishment ship. Boarding teams are usually at least as well-armed as the average infantryman on land and will typically have nifty things like ballistic vests that are also flotation devices, rope ladders with hooks and poles for getting up the side of ships, and tools for cutting through metal doors. Their weapons are generally more compact so as to be easier to maneuver inside cramped ships.


Modern guns are typically of lower caliber (3" to 5") than their predecessors from before WWII (12" to 18") but because of the overwhelming power of the missiles referred to above, most modern ships are not particularly heavily armored. Naval architects reason that a direct hit by an ASCM would be game over anyway; instead they use the space for more self-defense weaponry. Thus smaller shells will do just fine. \\\

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Modern guns are typically of lower caliber (3" to 5") than their predecessors from before WWII (12" to 18") but because of the overwhelming power of the missiles referred to above, modern Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles ([=ASCMs=]), most modern ships are not particularly heavily armored. Naval architects reason that a direct hit by an ASCM would be game over anyway; regardless of armor; instead they use the available space and weight for more self-defense weaponry. Thus smaller shells will do just fine.fine, if you can manage to get close enough to use them in the first place. \\\



!!Machine guns and autocannons

ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Smaller-caliber, rapid firing. Machine guns mounted on ships have several advantages over their land-based bretheren: The ship itself provides a stable firing platform, an armored position to fight from, and storage space for literally ''tons'' of ammunition. They provide defense against fast-moving small vessels, and in port against personnel on foot and in vehicles. When mounted in small, fast moving boats, they become the primary armament. Some designs can be mounted in automated turrets or remote weapon systems, while others must be aimed and fired by hand.\\\

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!!Machine !!General purpose machine guns and autocannons

ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Smaller-caliber, rapid firing. Machine guns mounted on ships have several advantages over their land-based bretheren: brethren: The ship itself provides a stable firing platform, an armored position to fight from, and storage space for literally ''tons'' of ammunition. They provide defense against fast-moving small vessels, and in port against personnel on foot and in vehicles. When mounted in small, fast moving boats, they become the primary armament. Some designs can be mounted in automated turrets or remote weapon systems, while others must be aimed and fired by hand.\\\



Today, the Vertical Launch System (VLS) is generally used, with missiles placed in silos inside the hull and launched on command. This is basically a box system with a ''much'' higher ammo capacity: it allows you to get a missile off about once a second (or faster), can use different types and sizes of missiles easily, is mechanically much more simple and reliable than the automated reloading and aiming systems associated with rail and box launchers, and reduces your radar cross-section (making you harder to find and hit). However, it isn't easy (or sometimes not even possible) to reload at sea without an ammo ship and special crane. \\\

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Today, the a Vertical Launch System (VLS) is generally used, with missiles placed in silos inside the hull and launched on command. This is basically a box system with a ''much'' higher ammo capacity: it allows you to get a missile off about once a second (or faster), can use different types and sizes of missiles easily, is mechanically much more simple and reliable than the automated reloading and aiming systems associated with rail and box launchers, and reduces your radar cross-section (making you harder to find and hit). However, it isn't easy (or sometimes not even possible) to reload at sea without an ammo ship and special crane. \\\



A Surface-to-Air Missile ([=SAM=]) is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a missile which is launched from a surface platform and attacks an aircraft or missile.]] Invented in the 1950s, they vary from short-ranged, barely guided early models to modern missiles capable of hitting other missiles in mid air and doing so from hundreds of miles away from the launching ship. Unlike their [[UsefulNotes/AirLaunchedWeapons air-to-air counterparts]], naval [=SAMs=] generally use a command-guidance or semi-active homing scheme; that is, the launching ship either guides the missile the entire way to the target or illuminates the target with a radar beam, the reflection of which the missile homes in on. Considering the self-guiding, "fire and forget" ability of modern missile technology, this seems an anachronism but confers several advantages: by shifting the processing power to the launching ship, the missiles can take advantage of bigger computers, can have more warhead or fuel for the same size missile, and are cheaper, with the same guidance capability. Since the ship can usually point its radars in any direction, following the target is not a problem, either.\\\

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A Surface-to-Air Missile ([=SAM=]) is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a missile which is launched from a surface platform and attacks an aircraft or missile.]] Invented in the 1950s, they vary from short-ranged, barely guided early models to modern missiles capable of hitting other missiles in mid air and doing so from hundreds of miles away from the launching ship. Unlike their [[UsefulNotes/AirLaunchedWeapons air-to-air counterparts]], naval [=SAMs=] generally use a command-guidance or semi-active homing scheme; that is, the launching ship either guides the missile the entire way to the target or illuminates the target with a radar beam, the reflection of which the missile homes in on. Considering the self-guiding, "fire and forget" ability of modern missile technology, this seems an anachronism but confers several advantages: by shifting the processing power to the launching ship, the missiles can take advantage of bigger computers, can have more warhead or fuel for the same size missile, and are cheaper, with the same guidance capability. Since the ship can usually point its radars in any direction, following the target around to maintain a lock is not a problem, either.\\\
problem like it is in [[UsefulNotes/PlaneSpotting air-to-air combat.]]\\\



* The Norwegian Naval Strike Missile.



* The US Mk 48 ADCAP heavyweight torpedo is the very latest long-range, surprise underwater demolition equipment. It's also used by the Canadian, Australian, and Dutch navies.

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* The US Mk 48 ADCAP heavyweight torpedo is the very latest long-range, surprise underwater demolition equipment.an exceptionally powerful anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon. It's also used by the Canadian, Australian, and Dutch navies.



* The Russians use the RBU-1000 and RBU-6000 multi-barrel rocket launchers. These remain in use largely because they take up so little deck space anyway, because the shallow yet cluttered waters of the Baltic Sea (a major Russian Navy operating area) can reduce sonar detection range to the point that such mortars are occasionally viable, and because they can be used as a last-ditch torpedo defense (fire the mortars in the direction of an incoming torpedo and hope for the best).

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* The Russians use the RBU-1000 and RBU-6000 RBU-6000[[note]]So named for their 1000 and 6000 meter ranges, respectively[[/note]] multi-barrel rocket launchers. These They are basically anti-submarine mortars with somewhat longer range. They remain in use largely because they take up so little deck space anyway, because the shallow yet cluttered waters of the Baltic Sea (a major Russian Navy operating area) can reduce sonar detection range to the point that such mortars are occasionally viable, and because they can be used as a last-ditch torpedo defense (fire the mortars rockets in the direction of an incoming torpedo and hope for the best).


* The most (in?)famous of these is the US Tomahawk, which can be fitted with a single warhead, cluster munitions, or a [[UsefulNotes/PeaceThroughSuperiorFirepower W61 nuclear warhead]].

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* The most (in?)famous of these is the US Tomahawk, BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM, so named to distinguish it from the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile or TASM, whch has since been retired), which can be fitted with a single warhead, cluster munitions, or a [[UsefulNotes/PeaceThroughSuperiorFirepower W61 nuclear warhead]].
* The Russian-built Kaliber missile.
* The South Korean Hyunmoo-3 cruise missile. The -3B and -3C versions have a similar capability to the TLAM.

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